Your Parents’ Health Habits: The good, the not so good, the wacky, and what you learned.

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-05-18 20:52:01 -0500
Started 2014-05-11 22:32:16 -0500

Listen to yourself. Like when you are thinking or talking about your health. And especially when you catch yourself getting in your own way with a comment like:

“This diet is ridiculous. Nobody should have to live this way.”

“I’m taking the medicine. Isn’t that enough?”

“I am fine. I don’t need to see a doctor.”

Where is that voice coming from? Does it remind you of someone in your past? Like one of your parents?

Think back to when you were growing up. How did your parents manage their own health? How did they manage the health of their children?

I came from one of those homes where Mom went to the doctor when she needed to but Dad didn’t. Fortunately for me, Mom was in charge of family health decisions. But when it came time to follow the doctor’s orders… let’s just say that my role models for being compliant weren’t always very compliant. I definitely have had to unlearn that habit.

On the other hand, my grandmother had all kinds of home remedies she would encourage us to try. Like the time I had wart on my hand and she instructed my mother to put raw bacon under the eaves trough (rain gutter) of our house to make it go away. I can’t remember if we tried that one, so I can’t tell you whether it works or not.

I wrote an article last month about learning and unlearning our parent’s health habits. Here’s a link:

What about you? Any lessons about health that you have carried into adulthood? Any that you have had to unlearn?

Was there some folk medicine in use at home when you were growing up? And have you held onto any of those practices? Or talked your parents out of them?

Did you change your own health habits as your parents grew older, and you saw how their own health habits – the good ones and the not so good ones – affected them over time? Were they good role models for you?

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences!

48 replies

Edie 2014-05-18 15:36:51 -0500 Report

My Dad was 73 my Husband says I always thought it was 77 and Mom died at 59 Mom was a reg at the Docs later in life Dad didn't go till he lost his hearing and then his eye site. That is when we found out Dad had a Tumer on his left Kidney they said then when they went into remove it they found it was in the Left Kidney and the size of a Pro Football the Doc said when they had me to sign a different form for the other Surgery he needed. We found out he had Reno Cell Cancer then. My Doctor visits are about the same as theirs was not so good.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-18 20:52:01 -0500 Report

Hi Edie,

Nice to meet you. And thanks for checking in.

Sounds like you had parents like a lot of us, Mom went to the doctor but Dad didn't. It is always really sad when people don't get the treatment they need and situations progress beyond where they needed to.

I hope you will think about getting to the doctor more! Take good care of yourself.


Jan8 2014-05-14 10:39:26 -0500 Report

My father took good care of himself. He was a professional basketball player. He lived to be almost 102. He was one of the first to have a by-pass at the Cleveland Clinic. I literally pushed my mother to a weight loss clinic and she lost 100 lbs. From then on she maintained her weight. She lived to be 89. I learned how to eat from her even though I have always been super skinny. Now with diabetes I noticed my stomach was starting to thicken. Oh No Not for Me !! I'll lose that tummy in no time.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-14 20:10:19 -0500 Report

Hey Jan,

Great to see you. Wow, a basketball player. That's pretty interesting. And that is some longevity he had, as well as your mom. Sounds like you have had a hand in helping your parents reach those long lifespans.

Yes, stay on top of that weight.

Thanks for checking in.


Gaza empire
Gaza empire 2014-05-14 01:42:58 -0500 Report

Coming from Africa, Kenya where some communities find it difficult to take there sick children to hospital,they believe it's God who heals people and when your time to die comes…you just die!
To some extent I tend to agree with them,my dad who is Type 2 and has been for the past 18 years believes going to the hospital is a complete waste of time because according to him when he goes to the hospital (and that is only when it's a must he has to go) they only teach him on how he should eat and at what time which to him being 'a son of a doctor' he claims he knows,he injects himself,cooks for himself and its pretty ok.
So one day he decided to take an uncle of mine to the hospital,I really don't know what came over him;he decided to check his blood pressure.The doctor was like ''what dont tell me you walked coming to the hospital?''.My dad blood pressure was 181/181mmHg!But he walked to the hospital and fortunately enough the doctor was able to restrain him from going home for a couple of days which to him was really a big problem since the patient he took to the hospital was able to be discharged the very day.
Of late his blood sugar has been rising and falling without him feeling it,he says maybe his body is not responding to the unsulin he injects himself with.What could be the problem???
My mother (may her soul rest in peace) also realised she had cancer only when one day she decided to visit the hospital after feeling unwell for sometime,she was adviced to go for either chemo or surgery what followed were the most painful part of our life but that i guess i a story for another day.
Back to my diabetic dad,he is now looking for someone he can compare notes with and mybe advice him to go to the hospital (on a lighter touch though) and maybe get tips on how to stay healthy.
Hey and please this doesn't neccesarily mean we all fear going to the hospital!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-14 20:07:49 -0500 Report

HI Gaza Empire,

That is a great nickname! And thanks for checking in.

There is a lot to be said for checking in with other diabetics and comparing notes. We can always learn a lot from doctors but people who share a condition can also learn a lot from each other.

But if your dad is thinking his body is not responding to the insulin, I hope he will check in with a doctor very soon. It's always a good idea to have a doctor's perspective. So I hope you will give him a push in that direction.

Keep us posted!


jayabee52 2014-05-14 13:52:22 -0500 Report

Howdy GE.

I try to stay away from the hospital as much as I can also.

If your father would like to come on DC he would be welcomed warmly. To speak with him directly would be best as right now it would be difficult to try to guess as what is happening with him without knowing what he is running with regard to his numbers, and how much of which type of insulin he is injecting. There are all kinds of reasons he may be having this problem but without specifics one could only make a guess.

God's best to you and yours

James Baker

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-13 13:17:28 -0500 Report

Back when I was a kid we went to the doctors when we had a limb hanging off or was really sick and mom didn't know what was wrong with us.. I have not had the flu since I was in 2nd grade. I can't get a flu shot because of it.

Home cures worked like magic. Mom made Onion Syrup for bad chest colds, gave us Cod Liver Oil from the first to last day of school every morning and slathered us in Calamine Lotion for every kind of insect bite and measles and chicken pox.

We were the real kids. rode bikes, skated, rode scooters and skateboards without helmets or knee and elbow pads. there were no seat belts or car seats in cars back then so we didn't buckle up.We fell off swings, got hit with baseballs and never went to the doctor. Ice was put on bumps and alcohol on cuts and scrapes. we got bandaids if the bleeding was bad.

My parents never went to the doctors that I can remember until I was in high school and mom got sick and dad made her go to the ER. She was in the hospital for a week. My father rarely went. They would go the the dentist or to get eyes checked and that was it.

My parents are gone now. Today is the day we buried my mom 10 years ago. They didn't develop major health problems until dad was in his mid 90's and mom was in her late 80's.

tabby9146 2014-05-17 10:41:25 -0500 Report

I loved reading that, and sorry about your mom (being the anniv, of her passing) I feel that most especially on the anniv. of my dad's passing too. We did not wear helmets, had roller skates, had skateboards, those were the good ole days!! I loved the swing sets, it was easy for a kid to be very active back then.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-18 17:51:47 -0500 Report

Thanks Tabby. It is easy for a kid to be active today. All parents have to do is take away the electronics and send them outside to play. The kids on my block are outside playing all of the time. Some have all the electronics some don't but every day when the weather is good they are outside riding bikes, scooters or tossing a football.

We had Gym and recess in elementary schools. A lot of schools don't have recess in this city in the elementary schools. they do have gyms in some of the schools. The problem is kids don't know how to play. They don't know how to make up games.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-13 21:37:52 -0500 Report

Hi Joyce,

I thought I might hear from you! Thank you!

It seems like a lot of those home cures have worked wonders over the years. Kids thrived. They play recklessly, they had accidents, parents didn't panic. They patched them up and the kids went out and played again. I wonder if we don't in some situations make ourselves more sick by over treating. Not always, of course, but there must be a middle road in there somewhere.

And your parents were certainly a testimonial to healthy living. You have some good genetics!


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-14 08:40:49 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary I switched doctors because his GP practice included children. I got sick of the mothers rushing in because the kid fell off a chair, a bike or tripped over the crack in the sidewalk.

When I was growing up, mothers did not panic. Kids didn't have ADHD and we thrived. One 4th of July my cousin ran through a willow bush and slit her foot from the big toe to her heel. My mom and her sister my cousins mother got water from the well and stuck her foot in the tub of ice cold water which slowed the bleeding enough to look at it. They wrapped her foot in ice and a sheet and took her to the hospital. That was one injury they couldn't fix.

Today everything is over treated. Get a cold you get antibiotics and cough syrup with codine. Doctors give out pills like candy to people of all ages. I worked in an elementary school and kids were on all kinds of medication and psychiatric drugs. By the time the kids grow up, they will more than likely been on 30 different medications.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-14 20:03:26 -0500 Report

Hey Joyce,

I understand what you are talking about here. We live in an over-medicated society, antibiotics being a very good example. In NYC, every time a store closes a drugstore moves in. Just have to ask where all of this is heading as people don't take care of themselves and expect the drug industry to take up the slack.

Thanks for this!


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-14 21:12:08 -0500 Report

We already have bacteria that is unresponsive to some antibiotics. I think it is going to lead to illnesses that will render current medications useless.

tabby9146 2014-05-13 10:58:00 -0500 Report

well my dad having been a pharmacist, he never went to the doc, which was a bad thing, most of the time he had his cures and remedies, but he died of lung cancer when I was 22. he had quit smoking years earlier, but had smoked for many many years prior. he had developed emphysema years before he passed, and it made it hard for him to exercise, we had a pool so he got in lots of laps but I could tell how hard it was for him, same with my mom, she smoked and did not have much energy, and so she did not exercise much either, but dad did play baseball with us when I was very young, and taught us a lot about sports. I was always athletic, and we had lots of neighborhood kids to play with outside, so I was very active up until I had my first child in my mid 20s. that was when things slowed down, and I working full time. Little did I know the damage that would cause. I tried to squeeze in exercise when I could but eventually I dropped it until 2008. I exercised a lot with that first pregnancy, doctor gave me the clear since I was so used to it. did not with the second one years later. I see now, how my mom (in her 80s) is in a wheel chair now, and she has COPD, and part of this, I am almost certain, is that she smoked for 50 years, and did not ever exercise. All she did when I was a child was occasionally play golf. I just hate it for her. I always tried to tell her years ago, how beneficial it would be to keep up her sitting exercises, that the physical therapists would do with her, when she needed that, after she fell and broke her hip years ago, and I did them with her, for a good while and she just stopped doing them, and it did not take long, for her to go downhill after that.

tabby9146 2014-05-17 10:47:24 -0500 Report

I lved how my dad taught us how to have a vegetable garden and we had one every single year up until the year he got sick. So growing up with all those home grown veggies in the summer was great, the taste can not be beat, totally different that canned and frozen veggies. They did buy lots of produce also during the rest of the year ,so at least I was exposed to a lot of that, along with the sugar laden more processed snacks and not totally the latter. those who live near the farmer's markets, and fresh fruit stands (we have some) are fortunate, the quicker they are eaten after picking, the better they taste and the better they are for you. I never buy produce from a chain store where it has to be shipped from afar and the prices are higher that way as well.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-17 16:22:50 -0500 Report

Tabby depending on where you live, some of the local chain stores carry locally grown fresh produce. We have two here that do that. All it takes is looking in the produce section of your supermarket for instance we will see Maryland Silver Queen Corn, Maryland Tomatoes, Maryland Yellow Corn, etc…Fortunately for us we are not far from our vegetable and seafood wholesale market. It is open to supermarkets and those of us who are willing to get up early enough to go there. The thing is you have to buy a case of something. The big Farmers Market here in the city is open every Sunday until the Sunday before Christmas and farmers plant winter crops so we can get fresh fruits and veggies from April to December.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-13 21:26:53 -0500 Report

Hi tabby,

Thanks a lot for sharing your story here. It is certainly a tragic story.

I know so many similar stories, I have them in my own family, including my father. It is a shame when people don't take good care of themselves. As their children, we can only look on and wish they would change their behavior but also know there is not much we can do about it. And as their children, we do what we can to take care of them when the results of bad health choices do catch up with them, and we all suffer together.

It sounds like you are doing what you can to take good care of yourself. That's what's important. I am glad to hear that.

I really appreciate this. Stay in touch!


haoleboy 2014-05-12 18:04:16 -0500 Report

My parents were depression era kids from small towns in Nebraska. We seldom ate out and as my mom stayed at home we always ate home cooked meals (ice cream was homemade too).
I remember there always being carrots and celery in the fridge for after school snacks and on special occasions she would even put peanut butter on the celery. I grew up eating avocados, artichokes and asparagus. Wasn't until I left home I discovered not everyone loved those vegetables. My mom had a thing for whole grain bread … rye being her favorite. Wheat germ was always available as were a variety of nuts and fruits.
When I think about it my mom was a bit of a health nut … even back in the 50's

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-13 21:17:43 -0500 Report

Hi haoleboy,

Wow, you certainly came from a healthy eating home. That's great! Celery with peanut better was an occasional treat at our house, too. Also Depression era parents, but we didn't have all those vegetables unless they came out of a can. Our bread was some variation on Wonder bread.

You were fortunate indeed!


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-13 13:55:25 -0500 Report

Steve, my parents were in the depression also and my mom made beer during Prohibition for my grandfather…shhh don't tell anyone lol. They grew up in Annapolis, MD. I don't know too much about my dads mother except she raised him with his grandfather and the two of them went hunting, fishing and crabbing together.

My maternal grandparents raised vegetables, chickens and killed hogs during Thanksgiving. Grand dad worked at the Naval Academy and my grandmother did domestic work when she could find it. They had 14 children although many died at birth. My mom and my oldest uncle helped Grand dad build the house for my grandmother and it is still in the family.

Your mom must have known my mom…lol she did the same thing. Her and dad loved rye bread. I would eat it but didn't really care for it. During the summer mom would put fresh carrot and celery sticks in the fridge for us for snacks during the summer and after school and during the summer she would save our Popsicle sticks and wash them off and stick them in Candy Bars and freeze them. She also sliced cucumbers with a little salt and vinegar for us to snack on. We always had fruit in the fridge. We didn't have to ask for that but we had to ask for candy and cookies.

We ate home cooked meals even though most of it was fried. (I miss one of moms Sunday dinners). The veggies were always fresh and were with every dinner or sometimes lunch we ate. We would also make home made ice cream (hated cranking) but loved the results.

My mom made fresh bread and rolls, cakes cookies and pies. Even though we always had candy and cookies in the house we ate a lot of fruit.
I didn't like asparagus or broccoli but now I can't seem to get enough broccoli. Mom and dad ate artichokes we didn't like them. We also had nuts around the house. My aunts had fruit trees so mom would make apple, grape or pear jelly. She would can beets and make applesauce.

I remember visiting my aunts and great aunts. We would get up in the morning to a huge breakfast which was the biggest meal of the day. Then go sit in a fruit tree and eat plums or cherries and an apple or pear when ripe. We would go out to the field and pick wild strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries and go to the well or pump and wash them off and eat ourselves silly. Those were the good old days.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-13 21:21:21 -0500 Report

Joyce, I love the Prohibition story. Priceless. And I get a really nice image of your family home with all that home-prepared food. Very nice! The good old days is right.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-14 08:49:03 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary back then nothing went to waste. People used what they had or borrowed. Neighbors helped each other and no one was ever hungry.

You would have been in food heaven if you had breakfast with my great aunt Emily on Sunday morning. Her and my mom would get up when we were visiting and start breakfast at 6am. Breakfast was smothered pork chops, home made biscuits, home fries, grapefruit, orange juice or sliced fresh plums. milk for the kids, coffee and crab cakes. Lunch was left over chicken and fruit. Dinner would be roast beef with root veggies, kale, potato salad, homemade rolls. She didn't have an electric mixer so she mixed homemade cakes with her hands. My mom would make the frosting and that would be desert and in the mean time we would be up in a tree somewhere at someones house eating fruit or playing some where. You did not go to any ones home who didn't offer you food or a treat of some kind. We told them it was their fault we were over weight. We ate all day in between playing.

haoleboy 2014-05-13 14:49:17 -0500 Report

Joyce …We lived, for a short time, in my mom's home town right across the street from my grandfather … one of my clearest (and best) memories is sitting in one of his apple trees eating apples and also my cousin and I sitting under the mulberry bush eating berries. There is nothing better than freshly picked fruit.

Poodle gal
Poodle gal 2014-05-12 13:27:55 -0500 Report

Hi there! My dad found out that he had type 2 twenty plus years ago and the way he has managed it has helped me. He consistently tests his sugar level, eats well, and stays on top of new information. He also exercises!!! This doesn't mean that he doesn't get frustrated—-he does! For me, dad has been such a great role model and he reminds me that you can have a great life in spite of diabetes!!!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-12 18:09:15 -0500 Report

Hey back, Poodle gal,

What a great role model your dad is, that's for sure. All that evidence that taking good care of yourself gets results.

Thank you!


Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-05-12 13:04:38 -0500 Report

Before I make my comment on this article I would like to praise my Mother. When I was little I remember a few times my mother would get a bisquit or roll and just say to us kids. "oh I've already ate too much while I was cooking. Looking back I know she hadn't ate. That she would feed us first then if there was left overs, she would eat after we went out to play. My mother was my best friend. She loved her children sooooo much, that she would do with out to make sure we didn't.
Now for the comment, we grew up in a very rural area. Mom and dad always raised a big garden. We had chickens and once a year raised a pig and a calf. We would work in the garden all spring. My brother kept the black birds out of the garden with his BB gun. We had all kinds of vegetables, berries, fruit trees, nut trees, grapes and musky dine vines. I remember my favorite was my mothers home made vegetable soup. It had everything in it except the kitchen sink.
We were rarely sick, my mom raised an herb bed and had anything you can think of in it. Fever few was for a temperature, etc. If you ever read the fox fire series, that was the way my mom did. She was raised where the only doctors in town was miles away. Mid-wifes were the obgyn, and minor medical helpers.
Most medicines today came from the basics of what was used back then. I have always tried to at least have a veggie garden, and buy at farmer market. We were very healthy except from what we contacted in school. 3 day measels, chicken pox, mumps, etc. I once was running through the house and stepped on a fruit jar in the kitchen, my mom had been canning. That was the only time I was ever even in a hospital. Obviously I survived with only a scar all the way around my right heel.
Both my parents lived a long live, my dad was 103, and my mom was in her early 90's. They walked most places, worked hard, and lived by the sweat of their brow. They were Christian and my moms uncle was a traveling preacher. I sometimes here my mom when I say something, and when I look in the mirrow

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-12 18:06:39 -0500 Report

Trudie Ann,

This is such a fantastic reply, it brought tears to my eyes. Thanks a lot for sharing your childhood with us.

I do remember the Foxfire series! And when you mentioned that, I got a very clear picture of what it was like at your house growing up. It sonds like your parents raised you with a lot of love, and that they did everything they could to give you a good home. And it sounds like they were successful!

And look how all that hard work and healthy living paid off. That's amazing. And what great memories and lessons for you.

Thanks a lot, my friend!


Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-05-12 23:08:41 -0500 Report

I'm not sure how the last part of my last sentence was cut off. It should have said, and when I look in the mirror I see her in my face now. Thank you for your comment my friend.

camerashy 2014-05-12 12:56:30 -0500 Report

My dad was in the Army, so access to doctors was a snap. We weren't allowed to have sweets anyway, except special occasions. (Sugar-free wasn't available yet.) Our snacks were fruit or raw carrots or celery. I still eat that way. Mom ate chocolate and had soda. We weren't allowed. Our drinks consisted of water if we got thirsty during the day, and milk was the exclusive drink for meals.
I occasionally have sugar-free chocolate, but I didn't turn out to be the chocoholic my sisters did. Of course, we only had regular meals when my dad was home, which was rarely. Mom tried to make sure we had protein and vegetables, and some of the stuff she thought up was practically inedible, and we always went to bed hungry. I can't sleep if I'm hungry, so I have a small snack before bed, but that's the only thing that's changed in my diet plan. I still go to the doctor when I think I need to.
(edit) I forgot. Protein came from eggs, which were cheap - we only had meat once a week - Sunday dinner.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-12 18:00:43 -0500 Report

Hey camerashy,

It is always so interesting to me how eating habits vary so drastically from oen family to the next. Economics certainly plays a big role in those differences, as you said so well. Money must have been tight at your house, and your mom did the best she could to stretch things, as you said. Also interesting that medical care was plentiful, that was a good thing.

We had a lot of spaghetti as a kid, maybe with meat, maybe not. It's still one of favorite meals, though I don't each much pasta at all anymore. Pancakes was our "night (or two) before payday meal."

Thanks for sharing this with us.


GabbyPA 2014-05-12 09:40:48 -0500 Report

My love for veggies came from my parents, and that was good. So did my love for sweets. As an overweight family (except my dad) we all had issues. My mom tried to put us on a pineapple diet once....woah. That was freaky. She didn't like chicken so we probably ate more red meat than we should have. The only fish we ate was what we caught if we went fishing, so sea food was very limited as well.

My mom was a physical therapist at the local hospital when I was a kid, and while emergencies would be cared for by a doctor, visiting one on a regular basis was not really in the mix...that has changed for me some, but I still don't care to go.

Both of my parents smoked, and both eventually quit. My mom quit first when I was in elementary school and dad quit when I was in my 30's. That is one habit I didn't add to my list of bad ones.

It's funny the things that stick with you from those days, like 3 meals a day and at least one has to be at the table. Sundays were leftover days while we watched the Wonderful World of Disney and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. LOL They taught me to garden, to follow my dreams, to be creative and to do my best no matter what.

The best thing I did learn from them was what a family was. That we spent weekends camping or Sunday drives through the country side. Family vacations and the neighborhood "go to house" for all my friends. So with the good and not so good, the best thing I did have was love, and I hope that I am able to continue at least that much

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-12 17:51:58 -0500 Report

Hi Gabby,

Thanks so much for sharing this. What a great growing up you had.

We didn't each much chicken either. My father hated it. So lots of hamburger, hot dogs, and pot roast for Sunday dinner. No fish at my house either, except for canned tuna once in awhile, slathered with mayonaisse. My father smoked heavily, but quit when I was a young adult. It still took a heavy toll on his health.

We were also a Wonderful World of Disney family, accompanied by soup and sandwiiches.

Sounds like your parents touched a lot of lives in your neighborhood, and I suspect they are still remembered for that. And what a positive influence on you!

That pineapple diet sounds pretty good. For a day or two. :))

Always appreciate your comments!


GabbyPA 2014-05-12 20:14:13 -0500 Report

Gee wizz....we might have been neighbors? LOL I grew up in the midwest, home of the most down to earth folks I know.

Pynetree 2014-05-12 08:53:55 -0500 Report

Good Topic! I "think" my Mom, reguarding medical advice, more than hear her opinions come from my mouth.
I grew up in the 50's, oldest of seven kids and we were comfortable, but not a lot of extras. My Dad never went to the Dr. My Mom went to he OB/Gyn.. pretty regularly in those days, but only saw our family Dr. rarely. And "young Dr. O'Neal" made house calls (just as his Dad did for my grandparents), sometimes going house to house on our block. But us kids, seems we saw the Pediatrician regularly..someone was always due to have some shot. And the usual childhood illnesses. But day to day medical advice, along with recipes, was a big family affair, infused with the wisdom gleaned from the Womens magazines of the era.. We lived on the street where my Mom was born, her Mom & Dad lived 3 houses away, 6 of her 14 siblngs also lived on the street ~ with our 32 cousins ( the other 15 cousins, on my Mom's side, mostly lived within 2 blocks). There was a LOT of "Mothering " going on on our block .
But everyone knew, Kids take Vitamins…You have 2 vegetables with dinner…You drink Milk with at least one meal…and Water has to be at least one drink a day, or "your system won't work right"…Asprin (and Tea) cures most anything…you have to get outside every single day, even put the infants outside in their coach, and then their playpen, when they were older…If you get a cut, pour peroxide over it.."it bubbles out germs", then mercuracrome (sp) and bandaids, sometimes used the whole box on a long cut (the ones we should have gone to the ER for stitches!) Unless you got cut on something rusty, then you should go to the Dr.for a Tetanus shot.
We all survived, and thrived, on the best medical advice those 1950 consults could provide! And I still know most of these truths hold today.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-12 17:45:36 -0500 Report

Hey Pynetree,

What a great post. Thank you!

Your parents sound a lot like mine, the kids got taken to the doctor even if the parents didn't go. And wow, you certainly were surrounded by lots of parental figures.

You certainly had a healthy diet. That's great. We had lots of peroxide around as well as the mercurochrome (I had to look that one up), and it did seem to work on about any cut or scratch. Along with lots of sun (no videogames to keep us inside).

We thrived all right!


Type1Lou 2014-05-12 08:09:50 -0500 Report

Mom came from a farm family and would call "skim milk" "blue milk" which, in her opinion, was only fit to feed the pigs. But, people back then did not live as sedentary a life a we perhaps do and were able to work off the excess fat. Also foods were much less processed back then and there's a school of thought that believes much of the processing is what contributes to our health problems today. Mom also ate lots of veggies and at least one apple and raw carrot per day. She lived to be nearly 98 years old.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-12 17:39:11 -0500 Report

Hey Type1Lou,

This is pretty interesting. Come to think of it, skim milk does look a little bluish. And yes, I agree, people were not so sedentary as many of us are these days, including kids. But your mom's longetivity is certainly evidence of the value of fruits and vegetables. I'm going to go out and buy an apple (which I don't like at all).



Type1Lou 2014-05-12 18:18:04 -0500 Report

My lunch, nearly every day, is an apple, sliced into 12 wedges and spread with 4 tbsps of all natural peanut butter. I weigh the apple on a scale that tells me how many carbs it contains based on the weight. With the PB it usually runs between 40 and 45 grams of carb. In her 90's, Mom actually took less meds than I currently do…she had pretty good genes and died with all of her natural teeth. (She had a grandfather who also lived well into his 90's.)

fatso200 2014-05-12 06:47:55 -0500 Report

We grew up under the false belief that lots of red meat and no carbohydrates during meals was the way to lose weight. Weight loss diet attempts were with meals laden with red meat and we were told no potatoes rice or pasta. The fat content of the red meat was not properly considered. Also, in general, red meat was a nightly staple, often cooked or over cooked in ways that made dining unpleasant for me. Dry and tasteless dinner was a trauma. It's a miracle i'm still alive. Also, as a little kid I was given aspirin when I had a fever, which could cause reye's syndrome.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-12 17:36:06 -0500 Report

Hi fatso200,

Nice to see you!

Wow, sounds like you were on a forced modified Atkins diet! That can't have been very good for you, and certainly unpleasant. It's amazing how parents think they are doing the right thing when what they are doing is anything but right.

Thanks for sharing this. Another good reason why we need more education about how to eat.


diabeticdummy 2014-05-11 23:37:27 -0500 Report

ok growing upwent to doctor as needed and when had to yearly no crazy home remedies but my parents traveled allot and we moved around allot so lots of pre packaged, and fast foods, at 18 went to work on a dairy farm ate healthy and worked out allot also took allot of suplements as i was training for strong man competitions so i needed to be hulky and strong but nothing illegal,at 20 started driving truck for local lumber yard very physical work then at 21 went over the road driving truck you can imagine the poor food choices back then the bag was healthier than the food and caffiene input wow sit on your but all day then sleep all night or vise versa at age 38 lost cdl to getting diagnosed wityh t2 sold my truck and bought a small farm its been a hard 2 yrs but getting better and getting heathier

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-12 17:29:37 -0500 Report

Hi diabeticdummy ( you don't sound a dummy to me!),

It looks like you went from not so healthy (similar to my childhood) to super healthy to not so healthy again. Great to hear you are taking good care of yourself now, including taking charge of your diet, and seeing the results.

Thanks for checking in!


robertoj 2014-05-11 23:00:23 -0500 Report

My dad came from a long line of butchers. My diet was mostly meat and potatoes,candy, chips and sodas. Other than canned peas, I had an aversion to vegetables. Because of extreme under weight, I drank large milk shakes daily.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-12 17:26:24 -0500 Report

Hi Roberto,

Sounds like we grew up on a similar diet, minus the milk shakes. We had lots of hamburgers and hot dogs, and canned vegetables that we didn't like to eat. I have certainly changed my dietary habits, as I am sure you have too.